Campbellsville University and the Churches of the Kentucky Baptist Convention

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In the next few weeks, a group of judicious and respected Kentucky Baptist leaders will engage representatives from Campbellsville University in what we trust will be an open and honest dialogue. The purpose of this undertaking is to better understand the theological convictions that chart CU’s course and whether or not those convictions are still compatible with the mission our Lord has given the churches of the Kentucky Baptist Convention.

Recent news that the university will not tenure a popular professor in their school of theology has solicited both an outpouring of support for the professor and swirling accusations about the university. For most Kentucky Baptists, a personnel matter at one of our nine agencies or institutions is a matter that should be handled privately by the administration without interference by the public.

Claims, however, that CU retains other professors in the school of theology who reject biblical authority and professors in other disciplines who affirm evolution, are difficult for many Kentucky Baptists to swallow. This is especially true when well over $1 million of their missions offerings are helping pay the salaries of those professors every year.

As I peruse emails I have received calling for the defunding of CU and threatening to defund the Cooperative Program if the KBC does not take action, I understand the concerns but am equally concerned that we do not rush to judgment. I earnestly pray that accusations regarding one institution will not be used to undermine all that Kentucky Baptists support, including the education 16,000 Southern Baptist Convention seminary students and more than 10,000 missionaries and church planters taking the gospel to Kentucky, North America, and the ends of the earth.

I am, however, genuinely troubled by the testimonies of some current and former CU students.

Tenuous and fragile are words that describe the relationships between most state conventions and their liberal arts universities. Higher education, by its very nature, requires the kind of academic freedom and exploration that is sometimes difficult to envision being funded by missions offerings. But if academic freedom is no longer afforded to those who hold to “the faith once delivered to the saints” (Jude 1:3) and teach a high view of Scripture (2Tim 3:16), the time for church support has clearly passed.

Is this the case for Kentucky Baptists and another of their historic educational institutions? I certainly hope not and appreciate the wisdom of God’s word where it says, “The one who states his case first seems right, until the other comes and examines him” (Prov 18:17). Given the claims being made by CU’s detractors, open and honest dialogue is necessary to reveal the answer to this question.

Again, the purpose of this undertaking is not to enter into the inherently private personnel issues of the university but to determine the compatibility of CU’s mission with the mission of the churches of the KBC.

Kentucky Baptists have been on a journey together for more than 175 years. That journey has found us investing in the work of CU for nearly a century. Let us not rush to judgment on this matter for “one who is wise is cautious” (Prov 14:16). Instead, let us walk with prudence, seeking knowledge that will lead to understanding (Ps 119:66).

Please join me in praying that God will grant us the understanding we need so that the mission He has given Kentucky Baptists can be accomplished.

This entry was posted in Campbellsville University, Christian Education, Collegiate Ministries, Cooperative Program, Denominational Life, Education, Partnership. Bookmark the permalink. Post a comment or leave a trackback: Trackback URL.

67 Comments

  1. Josh Howell
    Posted April 20, 2013 at 12:33 pm | Permalink

    Dr. Chitwood, I’m very glad to hear that these concerns are being proactively addressed, and I appreciate your level-headed leadership in the midst of these concerns. I’m praying for God’s wisdom for those who will be looking into the situation. I hope that we learn that Campbellsville’s theology is Biblical and worth supporting. However, if it becomes evident that “the time for church support has clearly passed,” I appreciate your willingness to take decisive action.

  2. Paul
    Posted April 20, 2013 at 1:29 pm | Permalink

    Praise God! Thank you for leading in this situation! This whole scenario is, and should be, difficult for any SBC Kentucky Baptist to understand. Praying the Lord helps you and your team make sense of it…and redeem it!

  3. Kenny Rager
    Posted April 20, 2013 at 1:45 pm | Permalink

    I am a graduate of C.U. and I believe and know that this is an excellent university. My testimony is simly this: CU is a wonderful school. Dr. Carter and others are excellent examples of servant leaders.

    • Nate Owsley
      Posted April 20, 2013 at 10:51 pm | Permalink

      I’m also a CU graduate and I agree 100%.

      • Pat Myers
        Posted April 24, 2013 at 8:04 pm | Permalink

        I too am a graduate and I agree with Kenny Rager. Dr. Carter is a wonderful man and has lead this University with outstanding servant leadership!

        • Laura Johnson
          Posted April 26, 2013 at 10:17 pm | Permalink

          As a CU alum and lifelong southern baptist, I too fully support Dr. Carter, the Board of Trustees, and CU administration in their prayerful decisions, spiritual positions, integrity, and longstanding Christ-centered mission. I am hopeful that KBC will come to the table willing to look at, not only a single short-term contractual staffing decision, but the larger picture of a university that is driven by the hand of God and produces quality servant-leader graduates that have been changing the world in the Lord’s name for over a hundred years.

    • Posted April 25, 2013 at 10:23 pm | Permalink

      Thank you Kenny. Keep up the good work at LCC!

  4. Posted April 20, 2013 at 2:14 pm | Permalink

    Dr. Paul,

    As an alum and former adjunct of Campbellsville University, I am befuddled by recent allegations against Campbellsville. I appreciate your cautious but thorough approach to this most sensitive issue. I am grateful that the KBC will take up such pivotal issues. Thank you also for rightfully advising against a rush to judgment. In the end, my hope and prayer is that Campbellsville University, their administration, faculty and staff will be found standing solidly upon the word, rejecting any science or writing in any way contrary to or in disagreement with The authoritative Word of God. We will then be able to put this matter behind and press on together in Christ for the prize. I look forward to full, fair and faithful dialogue. In the end however, if Campbellsville University is found not to be completely aligned with the Bible in any facet of its theological rubric; then I will support any and all measures to defund and disfellowship said institution and any other like-minded agencies and/or institutions for the integrity and effacacy of God’s Word and the necessary obedience it deserves from all churches, agencies and institutions of the Kentucky Baptist Convention. My prayers are for honest, straightforward and forthright dialogue which seeks clarity, transparency and truth. Thank you again, Bro. Paul for your spiritual leadership in this most important endeavor. May The Holy Spirit direct all persons involved that we may know the truth and the truth, as Jesus said, will set us free!

    • Posted April 25, 2013 at 10:24 pm | Permalink

      Ed, indeed, “May The Holy Spirit direct all persons involved that we may know the truth and the truth, as Jesus said, will set us free!”

  5. Posted April 20, 2013 at 3:30 pm | Permalink

    Thank you for posting this! As a current CU student who loves the school and has grown a lot, and who also has learned so much under this professor and respects him greatly, I am glad to hear there will be a conversation about this. I have learned under both some of the most faithful Christian people and some who did not display such beliefs. I’ll be praying for this meeting and appreciate the openness posted here, as I’m sure other students and alumni do!

  6. Charles
    Posted April 20, 2013 at 4:17 pm | Permalink

    Keep denying science and evolution…what a great way to educate the next generation. Sounds to me like someone at CU has some sense.

    • Erik Fearing ('82)
      Posted April 22, 2013 at 10:31 pm | Permalink

      Charles??? What’s your last name?

  7. Jimmy Hazlett
    Posted April 20, 2013 at 6:58 pm | Permalink

    I will rejoice in this, but I know from experience that CU isn’t the only KBC school that dismisses professors (or persecutes students) for holding to the doctrines of grace. I realize it hasn’t been said yet why they dismissed Dr. Williams, but as I rush to judgement (sorry Dr. Chitwood), I am confident it was due to his reformed stances. If some heresy comes to light, I’ll be the first to admit I was wrong.

  8. Eric Carter
    Posted April 20, 2013 at 10:41 pm | Permalink

    Paul, Your attack on Campbellsville University is unwarranted (in any personnel decision there are many factors involved), and I hate to be so blunt, but ridiculous. Let me first say….I (and my guess is many folks at CU) strive to be a Christian in the line of folks like Jesus (yes, the one you asked into your heart), Myles Horton, MLK Jr., Rosa Parks, Paulo Freire, etc. who were engaged in the practice of educating citizens to be deeply critical, spiritual, and self-reflective……and who were actually interested in ACTING in morally and socially responsible ways. They facilitated change in their communities….and the world! They opened up spaces where empowerment for oppressed groups was possible! We live in a world where institutional racism, sexism, classism, homophobia, etc. still exist. These are the things YOU SHOULD be in dialogue about….what Baptists should be in dialogue about…empowerment and missions! Rather, you waste your time berating an institution that’s mission is to help empower folks and change the world. Clearly, you have no idea what Jesus actually stood for! You need to take a step back from your inerrancy doctrine (which by the way is fundamentally and historically flawed)…….and ask yourself what Jesus thought was important! My guess is he’d say get off your tail-ends and start helping solve/alleviate some of our major societal problems!

    • Posted April 25, 2013 at 10:11 pm | Permalink

      Eric, No attack from me. I’m just trying to give Kentucky Baptists the opportunity to have their confidence in Campbellsville restored.

      I don’t, however, plan to step away from my inerrancy doctrine, nor do I concede that Scripture is, in any way, flawed. God’s words are life to me (Dt 32:47) and I believe they are God-breathed (2Tim 3:16).

      And, for the record, I don’t spend much time on my “tail-end.” I serve alongside our KBC staff, pastors, churches, and my family, to minister to and share Christ with those who are broken, lost, and hurting.

      My regards to Dr. Crouch and my prayers for your presidential search committee at Georgetown.

    • Ken Parker
      Posted April 26, 2013 at 11:52 pm | Permalink

      Eric… I’m an outsider to this and I don’t know Dr. Chitwood but I fail to see the judgmentalism of which you’re accusing him. What am I missing?

    • Ken
      Posted April 27, 2013 at 12:01 am | Permalink

      Eric…I’m an outsider to this and do not know any of the people involved but where was the judgmentalism in Dr. Chitwood’s response. What am I missing?

  9. Nate Owsley
    Posted April 20, 2013 at 10:47 pm | Permalink

    Is anyone else tired of arguing about Calvanism? It obviously does more harm than good because all it does is create an us vs them mentality within the body.

    • P. Nelson
      Posted April 22, 2013 at 10:04 am | Permalink

      What most people do not know is that the doctrines of grace were the norm in the church. Arminius comes along and wants to ‘argue’ that what had been taught for centuries in the church was wrong. We, today, act as though Arminian theology was the norm and Calvin was the trouble maker. Regardless of which side of the aisle you land on, it’s important to get history correct.

      • Nate Owsley
        Posted May 2, 2013 at 12:07 am | Permalink

        Why should there even be an isle to fall on? It’s not a salvation issue and people who don’t know the Lord don’t care which one is more popular.

  10. Sarah Adkins
    Posted April 20, 2013 at 11:35 pm | Permalink

    In your investigation, I hope that you include testimonies of students who both studied at the School of Theology and had Professor Williams as a professor. I was a Biblical Studies Major at CU and had Professor Williams for Studies in Paul. There are many of us who would love to contribute to this dialogue and stand in full support of CU.

    • Posted April 25, 2013 at 10:26 pm | Permalink

      Sarah, For now we only plan to gather those CU representatives and the KBC leaders Dr. Carter has selected. Nevertheless, I would welcome any thoughts you would like to share. Please send them to me at paul.chitwood@kybaptist.org

  11. Hunter Durham Smith
    Posted April 20, 2013 at 11:52 pm | Permalink

    As I read this statement with my parents, both of whom are alumni from Campbellsville University (my Father also being alumni of the Campbellsville University School of Theology) it troubles us to think that the convention will even consider to cease funding our University, MY University, over such a trivial matter. Even more appalling than that are thoughts that my University hires faculty in the School of Theology that “reject Biblical authority”? I am a member of the CU School of Theology and also play for the CU Tiger Football Team. My major gives me the opportunity to see these Theology Professors first hand and my sport allows me to be in contact with many coaches, faculty and other players who sit under the tutelage of other programs under other programs and professors. I can honestly say that never once have I ever seen or heard of/from professors who would totally reject Biblical authority.

    Regardless of who is teaching our theology classes or our conservative, liberal, or reformed views Campbellsville University’s School of Theology still holds true to their statement and prayer for all their students: TO PRODUCE WORLD CHANGERS FOR CHRIST. Under the providence of God and the leadership of faculty here at Campbellsville, the School of Theology is producing followers of God to be:
    1) Passionately Evangelical
    2) Rooted in the Biblical Story
    3) Church-Connected
    4) Servant Leaders
    5) Spiritual Entrepreneurs
    6) Partners in an Enduring Fellowship

    As a student of the Campbellsville and a member of the School of Theology, these are not chapters in a book our professors have written or a pretty motto to fame and hang on our wall but a creed to live by. If anything, this is what we truly believe and strive to do at Campbellsville. Much of the success of Campbellsville University and the School of Theology producing Servant Leaders and World Changers for Christ has come from and through our partnership with the Kentucky Baptist Convention and their generous support. I would be lying if I wasn’t a little concerned with the possibility that my University might not receive that same type of support in the future which, without, would cease the affordability of Christian higher education for myself.

    I would like to thank the Convention for taking their time to see this issue through and not making hasty judgments. I earnestly ask the Convention and all Baptists across Kentucky to pray concerning the matter and to consider if pulling funding from Campbellsville University is the proper course of action. I pray for Bro. Chitwood and the rest of the decision making that this would be a God-led team assembled and appointed for His will and His glory alone. And I pray for the future of Campbellsville University and the School of Theology and the thousands if not millions of lives that are touched through her commitment to producing Servant Leaders and World Changers for Christ.

    In Him,
    Hunter Durham Smith

  12. Fatcat
    Posted April 21, 2013 at 8:14 am | Permalink

    A belief in theistic evolution is not incompatible with being a Christian. I don’t personally hold to this view but I am not in a position to judge those who do.

  13. Tara Black
    Posted April 21, 2013 at 9:08 pm | Permalink

    I have many happy memories from cville. Though there were many things I disagreed with on ky baptist, I also know those were trivial and the ultimate message was and is how amazing our God is. He is bigger than us and bigger than this. Not knowing the situation, I do know god will use it to benefit his glory. I just pray for open minds in doing so..

    • Posted April 25, 2013 at 10:14 pm | Permalink

      Tara, I trust, with you, that God will use these conversations to benefit His glory. Thank you.

  14. Recent CU Graduate
    Posted April 21, 2013 at 10:44 pm | Permalink

    So, many people don’t understand this situation. Here is the bottom line.

    1. Campbellsville is a Baptist school.

    2. The Kentucky Baptist Convention gives money to Campbellsville so that they will teach Baptist doctrine (i.e., the Baptist Faith & Message 2000).

    3. Thus, the Kentucky Baptist Convention expects Campbellsville to hire faculty who both affirm the Baptist Faith & Message 2000 and do not teach contrary to it.

    4. Yet, multiple professors at Campbellsville teach things such as: 1) The Bible is not inerrant; 2) Adam and Eve were not real individuals; 3) Evolution is scientific fact; 4) Homosexuality is acceptable; 5) The New Testament authors were sexist; 6) Open-theism (the idea that God doesn’t know everything) is possible; etc.

    5. This surprises some CU students/graduates because they either: A) Didn’t understand what the professors were really saying; B) They weren’t really listening; or C) They never had these professors. Those who have spent more time studying Christian theology and Baptist doctrine KNOW that these professors taught these things.

    6. Dr. Jarvis Williams was hired at CU just a few years ago. He holds to the Baptist Faith & Message 2000. Dr. Williams has said that he is convinced that CU didn’t really want to hire him because of his conservative theology – but ultimately decided to go ahead and do so since he was a minority and it would look good on the school.

    7. But the administration had no idea that Dr. Williams would be so influential. Williams was writing more than anyone else in his department and attracting a lot of attention. Then the figurative bomb went off when Dr. Williams book on Paul’s understanding of the atonement was released.

    8. Dr. Williams is a Calvinist. Some of you may not like that, and that’s fine, but know that historically that’s where Baptists come from and that the Baptist Faith & Message is written in such a way that one can hold to Calvinism, Arminianism, or something in between and still be a Southern Baptist.

    9. Well,the administration did not like this. A book in favor of Calvinism was far too conservative for their liking. Williams was attracting a lot of attention and had even gone on TV to talk about this book. The administration decided they had to do something.

    10. For a period of time the school tried to intimidate Dr. Williams. But Williams’ convictions were too strong. When the administration saw that threatening wasn’t going to work they decided they had to get rid of him.

    And here is where we are. CU is trying to get rid of Williams (one of the few professors that holds to the Baptist Faith & Message 2000) while it has several other professors that teach in complete contradiction to it.

    If Campbellsville wants to be a liberal school then that’s fine. Let them believe and teach what they want. But if that is their choice then they should no longer receive funding by the KBC. PERIOD. KBC Churches are giving to them to advance the gospel and Baptist doctrine (as the BFM describes it). By not doing so Campbellsville is stealing right out of the pocket of every member of a Kentucky Baptist church who puts money in the offering plate.

    So, Campbellsville needs to either get its act together or the KBC needs to cease funding. Either way, something must be done.

    I hope Campbellsville will do something about what’s going on. And if they won’t, I hope the KBC will try and find some way to still help and support those at Campbellsville who do hold to the Baptist Faith & Message. There are a lot of good, godly Christians at CU. And I hate to see them suffer as a result of this. But at the same time the KBC cannot continue to pay these professors at Campbellsville who are teaching contrary to Baptist doctrine; and in many cases sound orthodoxy.

    Prayers for CU, Williams, & the KBC/Chitwood

    • Jimmy Hazlett
      Posted April 23, 2013 at 9:53 am | Permalink

      BOOM! Awesomely written and full of truthful information! Thanks for sharing your experiences

    • Darrin Jenkins
      Posted April 24, 2013 at 3:05 pm | Permalink

      As a former student and employee I have to say that it is laughable that the KBC wants to pull the “strings” of those at the University. The KBC either needs to get out of the business of forming and funding institutions or it need to FULLY fund the institutions it deems it should have control over. I do hope Paul will have a fair and level headed conversation with the leadership at CU, but I believe people need to get reality check and see the real picture of how much it costs to run a University like CU and why a million dollars doesn’t buy Kentucky Baptists complete control. I know nothing about Mr. Williams but I do know the extremist climate that exists among Baptists today is unbecoming and silly. People should learn to listen and love, not accuse and label.

    • Fact Check
      Posted April 24, 2013 at 5:00 pm | Permalink

      Actually, I’m not sure this comment is full of “truthful information.” What is your source for 9 & 10? Because that’s what the “bottom line” really is in the situation with Dr. Williams. Was he let go because he was a Calvinist? Or was it for another reason altogether? I’m not asking for an “of course he was let go because he’s Calvinist, it’s so obvious” answer. I’m asking for a source. Where did you get your information for points 9 & 10? Is there a statement released from CU or Dr. Williams explaining the matter? I don’t believe there is.

      Don’t present your argument as “fact” when your premise is based entirely on speculation. (Prov 18:17)

      • Recent CU Graduate
        Posted April 24, 2013 at 10:55 pm | Permalink

        Well, first of all I never said it was “fact”….although it certainly is. Second, what sort of source would I cite in this situation? It’s not like a book has been written on this or I can give you a link to surveillance footage. Suffice it to say that I know far more than I wish I did about what’s going on at Campbellsville. As far as proof goes….what I can tell you is that when Dr. Williams’ book was released there was supposed to be a Q and A session in the main chapel on campus. The administration however changed both the time and the location of the event at the last minute in order to decrease attendance. Second, you can go to Dr. Williams’ Bio Page on the School of Theology website here: http://www.campbellsville.edu/jarviswilliams. At the bottom of the page you will see a link to his KET interview with Renee Shaw about his book on Racial Reconciliation. Interestingly, there is no link to his second interview with Renee Shaw on his book on Limited Atonement (which happened well over a year ago). Here is a link to that interview: http://www.ket.org/cgi-bin/cheetah/watch_video.pl?nola=KCWRS+000725. Furthermore, Dr. Williams himself could further give proof that everything I have said is true. He could provide you with Anti-Calvinist material that was circulated around the School of Theology and recall multiple occasions that the administration attempted to intimidate him (although most of them never had the courage to talk to him about it to his face).

        Before Dr. Williams’ book on Limited Atonement came out he had recently been promoted and had received an award from the school in honor of his work on his book on racial reconciliation. You’re going to tell me that the school promoted and honored a professor a year ago that it now wants to let go of for no good reason? If Dr. Williams had done something wrong or committed some egregious sin then the school would have spoken out on it by now. This is about, and only about, the fact that Jarvis is a Calvinist.

        • What Proof?
          Posted April 25, 2013 at 2:48 pm | Permalink

          So your proof is what you’ve been told by Jarvis. That’s far from proof!

  15. Posted April 22, 2013 at 7:40 am | Permalink

    As a parent of a recent CU grad and another child who is presently a proud CU student and athlete, I am so glad that my children decided to attend a Godly, Bible-believing, Christian university. Thank God that CU is a John 3:16 institution and that belief is obviously not up for negotiation. Every CU instructor knows his/her students by name (they are not just a # to the professor as is the case with some of our state universities).
    Dr. Chitwood, having read your comments and the comments of a few, I get the impression that CU is under attack by a few that have never even set foot on this campus and are relying on hearsay rather than factual information. There is appearance of a biased, slanderous attack underway against CU.
    Having attended state schools (more than a few years ago) for undergraduate and professional degrees, it is a disgrace that not even one instructor publically took a stand for our Savior when I was in school. Thank God for Campbellsville University! May God continue to bless this wonderful, John 3:16 school.

    • Current Parent
      Posted April 22, 2013 at 5:55 pm | Permalink

      As a parent of a current CU student as well as a member of the Church Relations Council, I’d just like to say that if such teaching is occurring at CU it is being kept very quit & it goes against everything that I’ve been told and seen first hand. My child is receiving a wonderful education and is experiencing a closer walk with Jesus Christ. I praise God for CU!

  16. Melissa
    Posted April 22, 2013 at 9:43 am | Permalink

    I am an alum of Campbellsville University and I have two children that have graduated from this great University. It is an excellent place to receive an education. Campbellsville University has been a bright spot to Taylor County for many years. Graduates of this fine University become model citizens. Shame on those who are trying to destroy this legacy.
    Leaders stand up and defeat the devil!

  17. Posted April 23, 2013 at 7:48 pm | Permalink

    Dr. Paul I am praying for you thank you for your leadership in this area.
    While I am sure C.U. has some great teachers we must adhere to biblical truth and if that is not the case at C.U. then we must take action.

  18. Jay
    Posted April 24, 2013 at 11:24 am | Permalink

    The thing that bothers me the most about the discussion in these comments is that it assumes that if CU is found to be more liberal than the KBC approves, then CU is not doing any good. Public universities provide wonderful education in a lot of cases and strive to be people who change the world and do good in their communities. Lost people can (and often do) accomplish as much ore more good in the community as Christians. At the very worst, what this will discover is that CU and the KBC are in different places and it would be mutually beneficial for both institutions if that is the case to cease their partnership. The KBC will be able to use their CP dollars to fund something that will be less contentious in the convention and CU will be able to find other sources of funding that they otherwise would not have been able to. This would also free Campbellsville to not hire professors that could potentially cause these types of problems in the future.
    At the end of the day, neither institution is more right or more wrong if something does happen and it would probably benefit both institutions in the long run if it is found to be the time to end this partnership.

  19. Ed
    Posted April 25, 2013 at 9:13 am | Permalink

    There’s no wonder people don’t like to hear about Southern Baptists. The denomination got rid of the moderates, and now those in charge have only themselves to blame. The SBC is eating its own young and is too stupid to realize it. I guess that’s why Jim Taylor moved so far to the right many years ago. He knew the KBC would come after Cumberland next.

  20. Rick
    Posted April 25, 2013 at 10:03 am | Permalink

    I am a proud graduate of Campbellsville. Many years ago, having flunked out of Morehead State University, C’ville received me into her family and walked graciously with me as I journeyed into academia and, because of some very patient and longsuffering (and believe me, I caused some wonderful people high levels of suffering) Campbellsvillians, both faculty and staff, I became a college graduate. Many of those persons have become dear friends and have continued to be my mentors for over 30 years. They exhibited the love of Jesus in ways I had never seen before.

    You may be asking the question, “What does this have to do with this issue.” I believe it has much to do with this issue. It seems that, in today’s ecclesiastical environment, when someone believes there are doctrinal differences, those who are supposedly on the other side of the doctrinal coin go on a hunt. They’re after someone or some institution’s future. The big guns used in these kills are blogs and social networking and, in most instances, blogs filled with hearsay (Please know that I am not speaking of Dr. Chitwood’s blog. I do believe he is making all of us aware of the issue and the ways the issue is being addressed.). The problem with those who are stalking their prey… the hunter can never empathize with his prey. If he does he will never make the kill.

    It seems that there are those who are on the hunt who have never attended Campbellsville, who have never sat in a class, who have never known the Christlikeness that is the environment on that incredible campus. They can go for the kill because they have no heart for that which they are hunting. I can only hope that those who are speculating about the situation will begin to realize that this institution not only teaches the gospel, she lives the gospel.

    My prayer is that truth will win out. My fear is that, due to the pressure being placed on Dr. Chitwood by those who have embraced the hearsay, that those in leadership at the KBC will find themselves in the awkward place of removing funding from Campbellsville no matter what the findings are. That, due to the financial losses to the KBC the trigger will be pulled and deeply wound an institution of higher learning that has through the years exhibited and taught conservative views on Scripture and graduated people like me who were throw aways at other colleges and universities.

    I can only hope that those making the final decision will be able to look beyond the political pressure being placed on them by those who may be on a witch hunt.

    • What Proof?
      Posted April 25, 2013 at 2:52 pm | Permalink

      Well said!

    • Posted April 25, 2013 at 10:21 pm | Permalink

      Thank you, Rick, for your prayer. Rest assured, political pressure will not dictate decisions. The matter is only being pursued because of the testimonies of current and former students, not the testimonies of those who have never sat in a class. I am pleased to hear of your experience at CU. My regards to your family. Josh & Jana are favorites of ours!

      • Rick
        Posted April 26, 2013 at 12:41 pm | Permalink

        Thanks, Paul. Praying for you and all involved.

  21. CUs Response
    Posted April 25, 2013 at 3:47 pm | Permalink

    Here is a portion of CUs response to these allegations. The remainder of the response is published in the most recent edition of the Western Recorder.

    “Needless to say, we are perplexed by the unfounded charges that have been thrown at Campbellsville University. We are saddened by the level of rhetoric, political labeling, and name calling that has appeared in the blogs and internet-based venues. We have chosen to not engage in such tactics and will continue to rise above such rhetoric and labeling that are not in keeping with the spirit of our Christian faith,” the statement read, in part.
    “We cannot comment on personnel decisions other than to point out that no one has been fired, and the professor was told he would have an additional one year to teach. Such decisions are difficult and never made lightly,” the statement continued.

  22. Rev. Ty Clenney
    Posted April 25, 2013 at 6:21 pm | Permalink

    Over the last 56 years of my life as I’m now 75 I’ve had the wonderful privilege of knowing some of the greatest men of God who believed and preached the bible as the absolute truth of God. To name a few – Dr. Ted Sisk, Dr. Boswell, A.B. Colvin, Dr. John Carter, Dr. Bill Marshall, Dr. Clyde Francisco, Dr. Jess Moody, Dr. J. Chester Badgett, Dr. Wayne Dehoney, Dr. Bill Mackey, Dr.CR.Dailey editor of the Western Recorder for years, Rev. Wendel Romans, and so many more that believed in the scriptures as the absolute word of God. What is the agenda, the purpose of those who question Campbellsville University standing upon the Bible and those absolutes of salvation by grace and grace alone. The University has always preached and lived the truth. They stand for leadership, scholarship and fellowship based upon Christian principles. May we all stand for the word of God that was once delivered to the saints.

  23. Rev.Ty Clenney
    Posted April 25, 2013 at 6:33 pm | Permalink

    Pray for everyone involved. Campbellsville University is doing a tremendous work in Christian Education. Thanks, Rev. Ty Clenney

  24. Jolene Lord
    Posted April 25, 2013 at 9:16 pm | Permalink

    Mr. Chitwood, your thesis reveals your authoritative stance: that you and “a group of judicious and respected Kentucky Baptist leaders” will engage representatives of Campbellsville University and challenge “whether or not those convictions are still compatible.” Of course, the selected “judicious and respected” individuals have demonstrated their loyalty to your convictions. Your use of hasty generalizations e.g. “swirling accusations,” “genuinely troubled by testimonies of former and current CU students” indicate where you stand.
    The “biblical authority” argument is a red herring designed to divert attention away from the real issue and should not even be mentioned in connection with the solidly grounded faculty and administration at CU. However, such terminology does scare some people and might garner some support for your conviction.
    The sentence: “Higher education, by its nature, requires the kind of academic freedom and exploration that is sometimes difficult to envision being funded by mission offerings” lacks clarity. To whom are you referring that academic freedom is no longer afforded? Please be fair and not cloak innuendo in opaque statements.
    So, your purpose “to determine the compatibility of CU’s mission with the mission of the KBC churches” must have some underlying motive. Campbellsville University’s faculty and administration take their callings seriously and will not be deterred by a few “judicious and respected KBC leaders” who attempt to derail the University’s progress.
    Considering that the Kentucky Baptist Convention has been steadily decreasing funding, and is now down to less than 2% of the total budget, defunding is not so scary. Alumni and supporters who believe in the University and its mission will accept the challenge to support a free and faithful Baptist university.

    • Posted April 25, 2013 at 9:53 pm | Permalink

      Dear Jolene,

      I am saddened by your mistaken assumptions and terriblyj misguided attempts to assign motive.

      You might be surprised to know that 33 members of my family have graduated from one of our KBC schools.

      You might also be surprised to know that Dr. Carter requested the meeting after I suggested it and told him to think about it and let me know if he thought it was a good idea. You might also be surprised to know that I allowed Dr. Carter to select the “judicious and respected Kentucky Baptist leaders” with whom he would like to meet.

      You might also be surprised that I suggested that such a meeting might be the very best way to deal with the growing concerns from current and former students about some of the things they hear from some Campbellsville professors. No accusation from me. I graduated from and taught for the University of the Cumberlands. I’ve never attended a single class at Campbellsville. I’m just trying to deal with what has come my way.

      You might be surprised that Kentucky Baptists have invested tens of millions of dollars in Campbellsville yet rejoice that the university has grown to the point that an ongoing annual investment of more than $1million is only 2% of the budget.

      You might be surprised that I have no motive in dealing with any of this except to help Kentucky Baptists have the opportunity to regain confidence in an institution they have sacrificed to bless and build for nearly a century.

      You might be surprised that Kentucky Baptists believe the Bible is true and simply want to ensure that those who receive their missions offerings also believe it is true. No accusation from me. Just an opportunity to have what has been questioned clarified. And I believe Kentucky Baptists should be permitted to have clarification.

      You might be surprised to learn that my blog post is not cloaked in innuendo but clearly states that some have accused CU of not being diverse enough to welcome a Baptist Faith and Message affirming inerrantist to the faculty but I am trying desperately to give CU the opportunity to disprove that accusation.

      You might be surprised that the reason funding has been reduced is that some churches are choosing not to give to causes like CU through the Cooperative Program.

      You might be surprised that my overarching concern is that the lost hear the gospel and be saved. And I still believe that is worth spending my time, energy, money, and life on, even when it means planning a meeting that will help our churches maintain confidence in how their Great Commission offerings are being spent. And even when it means writing a blogpost that will help them understand that, yes, we have heard their concerns and, yes, we will address them.

      • Jeff Connelly
        Posted April 27, 2013 at 12:58 am | Permalink

        I’m “surprised” at just how much sidestepping you do so that you don’t have to come directly out and say “I want to defund Campbellsville University and give it to the cooperative program.” Just say it because we all know your logic behind this.

        • Posted April 27, 2013 at 5:09 am | Permalink

          Jeff, Actually I have been working with committees for the past six months and came to the opposite conclusion. You have misjudged my motives. Moreover, funds that go to Campbellsville are already given through the Cooperative Program.

        • Paige Robinson
          Posted March 2, 2014 at 10:55 pm | Permalink

          embarrassing….surprising….

          • Paige Robinson
            Posted March 2, 2014 at 11:06 pm | Permalink

            ….not just Jeff’s, but several that seem to be a bit hostile, disrespectful (even arrogant?)….regardless of their opinion….hate to see it…cringed quite a bit…

  25. Allison Allen
    Posted April 25, 2013 at 10:10 pm | Permalink

    Dr. Chitwood,
    I am praying for you and the group who is to discuss the future of CU and the KBC. I am an alum of Campbellsville (2004) and I am so thankful God allowed me to attend such a great school. I was an educational ministries major and took many theology classes while I was there. I never heard any professor teach about biblical errancy or reject biblical authority. I was challenged in my faith with God and that because of the Christ-centered education and discipleship I received while I was there. All of the professors I had in the theology department (and other departments) love the Lord and His Word and teach with accuracy. I also graduated from SBTS in 2007 and I honestly can say I can’t think of one thing I was taught at CU that contradicted something I learned at SBTS. The administration at Campbellsville are God-fearing people and I hope after you investigate this matter you will learn that truth.
    I hope this matter is quickly resolved. It makes me very sad to hear CU’s name dragged through the mud. I support my school 100% and am so thankful for my time there!
    Thank you!

    • Posted April 25, 2013 at 10:30 pm | Permalink

      Thank you, Allison, for your prayers and comment. I am pleased to hear of your experience at CU.

    • Kenny Stone
      Posted April 27, 2013 at 1:11 pm | Permalink

      Allison, I am not an alumnus of CU, but what I fear for this great institution which our church supports through our CP funds is that Biblical innerancy is not the issue, but actually “another” divisive theological quandary commonly known as Hyper-Calvinism. If the reports of professors straying from the faith “once delivered to the saints” is really true, why did it take the removal of the controversial professor in question to bring these matter to light?

  26. Martha Madison
    Posted April 26, 2013 at 11:19 am | Permalink

    So typical of Baptist behavior! Blast CU then try and sound fair all in the same blog! CU is a LIBRAL ARTS college!! You knew that going in! I think CU will be better off with out the funding of the Baptist Association!

    • Posted April 26, 2013 at 11:37 am | Permalink

      Martha, I do hope to be fair to everyone who is engaging in this discussion. No blast from me. As for funding, Campbellsville has never been obligated to receive the tens of millions of missions dollars that churches have invested in the university. My impression has always been that CU welcomed that investment and welcomed a relationship with Kentucky Baptists. Dr. Carter has confirmed that impression. The Cooperative Program is the largest donor in the university’s history and we rejoice that CP has been able to undergird CU.

  27. Unity Through Christ
    Posted April 26, 2013 at 4:47 pm | Permalink

    I am a proud Campbellsville University alumnus. I received my undergraduate degree in 2008 and my master’s degree in 2010. Due to my Catholic affiliation, I did not receive any Baptist related scholarships, however, that did not stop me from appreciating the type of Christian environment that is found in every aspect of Campbellsville University. I appreciate all of the Board Members/Alumni/Affiliates and anyone, who has helped make Campbellsville University to be where they are today!

    Just like other Christians experience; my faith in Christ has taught me to love everyone no matter their denomination/creed/color. To show unity between faith communities is needed to help our current “war” that is hurting our lives worldwide. My time on this campus brought my relationship with Christ even closer than it has been in years! For that I am and always will be thankful!

    During my time as a student I’ve witnessed many blessings happen on the campus. I’ve seen students of all denominations come together to fellowship with other Christians and share their faith with others. I’ve seen volunteers, be it faculty/staff/students (offering their time and talents) to help fulfill great missions: Operation Christmas Child / Coat or Clothing Drives / Mission trips, the list goes on.

    Aside from their studies, students at Campbellsville University are learning about the importance of servant leadership and how to live and love as Christ loved. Just like any other type of offering, what is taught at Campbellsville University is not forced onto anyone. It is up to the person on the receiving end to be able to take what is taught and apply it to their life, as they choose to do so.

    Comparing my education at Campbellsville University to my previous experience at a state school, I’d have to say my classroom setting was nowhere like it was in the state university (in a good way). At Campbellsville University, I had smaller class sizes; I had professors who actually knew my name instead of just an ID number. My classes were not only educational vessels that geared me to my future degree, but I had genuine faculty and staff who taught me with respect, dignity and care. The most important difference was that God was everywhere! He was found in the hearts/smiles/words of faculty/staff/students all throughout the campus. He was found in the prayer prior to classes starting, or the convocations that were held on Wednesday throughout the semester. He was found in the cafeteria, when you looked around seeing several students bowing their heads in prayer. God is there and will continue to remain no matter the outcome.

    I don’t know the future of the relationship with the KBC and I will continue to keep the University and its people in my prayers. What I do know, is that Campbellsville University helped me find my calling and helped strengthen my love for Christ and for that I am grateful!!

    Thank you Campbellsville University for not failing me, just as Christ will never fail his people!!!
    Much Love,

  28. Concerned
    Posted April 29, 2013 at 6:27 am | Permalink

    Some nice people at CU but just ask if they believe God created the world in six literal days and listen to what they say.

  29. Daniel
    Posted April 29, 2013 at 1:48 pm | Permalink

    It saddens me that the University is has decided to not renew Dr. Williams contract. I became a Calvinist while at Campbellsville; not because of Dr. Williams, but because of a renewed interest in Evangelism and theology and the fact that I finally read the New Testament in a translation that I could more easily understand. I never had Dr. Williams while I attended CU but students always had something to say about him if they knew him when asked. While I was at CU I heard a little bit about Vision 2025 which is plan of were the leadership wanted to see the University in 2025. Vision 2025 contains a statement referring to the Universities commitment to the “whosoever will gospel” I assumed that it was referring to the Calvinist/ Arminian debate. I loved my time at Campbellsville and believe that God uses that institution for His glory every day. My prayers go out to the members of the KBC and the University during this time.

  30. Randall Dill
    Posted April 29, 2013 at 3:29 pm | Permalink

    Here we go again . . . another Baptist fight!

    I knew it would only be a matter of time when CU would appear under the microscope of some of its own Kentucky Baptists who support the school with over a 1 million in annual giving. Now it’s coming from current and former students (shame on them!) Under Dr. Carter’s leadership, CU has elevated itself to one of the premier universities in the south and has fostered an inclusive culture of academic freedom. This current episode is precisely what some fundamentalists are looking for and will use their money (or rather lack of financial support) to bring the school under its control.

    It appears that Michael Carter will now be fighting another holy battle to maintain the integrity and status of his school. When will it ever end? This is nothing new . . . it happened to Baylor, Carson-Newman, Georgetown, Furman, and other Baptist schools across the south.

    Jarvis Williams appears to be one of the new breed of Calvinist theologians coming out of Mohler’s Southern Seminary now infiltrating undergraduate schools like CU. So, what could one really expect?

    This may all blow over, but my prediction is that within a few years CU will eventually break away from its Kentucky Baptist funding. Students having an education in the Baptist tradition may be one thing, but being academically comprehensive and holistic in its approach can be a very hard pill for some fundamentalists to swallow.

    When will Baptists ever learn and just stop narrowing their lenses of educating those who teach us about the truth of God’s Word.

  31. Jeremy Elmore
    Posted May 2, 2013 at 2:25 pm | Permalink

    As an alumnus of Campbellsville University and having received my Bachelor’s in Educational Ministries, I want to affirm my support for CU. As a student, I was not naive to the fact that different beliefs may have been discussed/taught in classes that I took or did not take. As a student I felt like this was something that allowed me to grow and shape my faith.

    As I have continued to work in world of higher education, I exhort college students to search and investigate anything and everything they hear from their professors. This is not to prove or disprove, but rather develop a self awareness of why they believe the things they believe. However, I find many times students find a charismatic professor or someone whom they identify with and they latch onto everything they say without fully understanding all of the stances. This can be dangerous and I have seen firsthand students taking professor’s words and repeating them without the full understanding of their words/beliefs.

    I do want to clarify one common thing that many people misconstrue. When a college is deemed a “liberal arts college” it is not talking about the type of theology taught or ideals/theories presented in any class. Rather it is talking about the opportunity for students to be able to take many different classes in the effort to become a well rounded individual. I see a lot of times people using the argument that because Campbellsville is a “liberal arts school,” we should expect “liberal” ideas to be taught. However that is a misuse of what it means to be a “liberal arts college.”

    I will be praying for wisdom for all of the parties involved in this open dialogue from CU to the KBC committees. Sadly I do not know the specifics behind the situation with Professor Jarvis, but pray that right motives were used in making that decision.

  32. P. Hartman
    Posted May 4, 2013 at 6:45 pm | Permalink

    As a parent of a former student of CU, I was surprised when my son called me during his first semester of college and told me that he was being taught evolution as fact in his biology class. He has been raised to believe that the Bible is truth, scientifically accurate, inerrant and God’s story. Now, he was being told that it was not. I did not expect this from a Baptist University.

    I wrote the professor and received the following comments back, not from the professor, but from Dr. Michael Carter, President of the school:

    “Most species have well documented histories and proofs of evolutionary change. It is rather interesting that many times this is a more difficult concept for some students than others. For instance, students who come from rural farm backgrounds know that evolution is a process as they have seen firsthand in the affects on farm animals, whereas, more urban students have little acquaintance with such biological changes.”

    I do not mean to pick on Dr. Carter, but what Dr. Carter was referring to is not “evolution”, but “adaptation”. However, my son was in fact being taught evolution… that one species becoming another… fish becoming a mammal or, to relate it to the farm as Dr. Carter did… a cow becoming a bird, or at a minimum a cow becoming a horse. I grew up around farms and I never saw an animal change species… but,he was right, I don’t know what happens on Kentucky farms.

    This is not Biblical. Did God not create all the species? Whether they adapted to climates or had other changes, God created fish and birds and land animals and sea creatures, and Adam named them all. That’s the Bible, and it WAS BEING CONTRADICTED and supported by the president of the university. The response not only erroneously supported the teaching, but I was insulted by the comment that my son could not understand this because he grew up in the city.

    Further, Dr. Carter commented, “As to the age of the earth, I am not a geologist, but is is well documented that our earth is several billion years old. I know this is topic of some discussion in non-scientific circles. None the less, from a scientific stand point, our scientists are prepare to teach from a scientific point of view and not a philosophical vantage point.”

    Is the inference that Biblical teachings are philosophical and not scientific? Fortunately, the more science is researched, the more it proves the Bible. Just 3 hours north of the school is the Creation Institute, which, if Dr. Carter took a drive north for a day and listened, he would hear the scientific evidence for Creation and would learn how old the earth really is, learning further that science supports the thousands of years that the Bible so wonderfully documents for us, not billions of years that is baseless in science.

    Finally, Dr. Carter said, “Let me close, by saying that each of our faculty believe that the Holy Scripture contains the direction for how to live our lives. We believe it is God’s Word and tells the wonderful story of redemption as we can know through the person and and power of the Lord Jesus Christ. We also recognize that the Bible is not a book of science. It is a book of God’s love for His creation and how He has provided a way for us to know Him in a personal manner, through His Son, Jesus Christ.”

    The Bible is His Story (facts, science and history), it is not a storybook. It is not fairy tales made up to be illustrative. God does not need to make stuff up to get point across. He is the God of order, not chaos or chance. He is specific. His timeline is clear. Dr. Carter implies otherwise.

    Dr. Carter raised the issue that the school is teaching students who will be teaching in schools and will encounter evolution, and so they need to be able to teach it. Should we not be raising up teachers who will be willing to teach the truth, and not a pack of lies? It’s one thing to present beliefs and then teach students why they are WRONG, but another to teach them as fact, which is what Dr. Carter was clearly supporting.

    I thank God that my son recognized the attack of Satan on this school, and I pray that God will raise up leaders who will not stand for the lies of the Devil being taught on sacred ground.

    This year, another student at CU let me know that her teacher was teaching that homosexuality is an acceptable lifestyle and that it does not contradict the Bible. God, with his infinite timing had this Word in church that very week that she was presented with that false teaching:

    Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another. They exchanged the truth about God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator—who is forever praised. Amen. Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural sexual relations for unnatural ones. In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed shameful acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their error. Furthermore, just as they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, so God gave them over to a depraved mind, so that they do what ought not to be done.” (Romans 1:24-28)

    I do not see how anyone could question God’s stance on this. But the teacher, who I understand is still on staff, is teaching this at CU. Again, it’s one thing to say that society holds to this, but there is no question that God finds this behavior to be that of a “depraved mind” and that it “ought not to be done.”

    Most recently, I found out that this professor, who stands for Biblical inerrancy, is not being tenured. Sadly, I am not surprised when it seems like the president of the school does not appear to believe that the Bible is truth.

    My understanding is that liberal theology has been cleaned out of Baptist Seminaries, but not the universities. I just hope that the time has come to clean up theuniversities. Parents, like myself, send our kids to Christian Universities, not so they can find out what the world teaches (they can get on the Discovery Channel), but rather to train them to be bold in defending the Word of God.

    I pray for the students who are standing up to defend their faith at school. I am sure that they are facing pressures or concerns that their grades will be affected for standing for God’s Word in the face of Satan’s attack. May God be with them in the good fight.

    May God also guide the administration in opening their eyes to the truth of God’s Word and help them to appreciate the beauty of His perfection.

    May God guide this meeting so that God’s mission will be accomplished without compromising the faith.

    And may we be reminded: “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” – Ephesians 6:12 These circumstances remind me of the Frank Peretti book, “This Present Darkness”. May those who are working on this matter eliminate the heresy before it gets a foothold in the lives and minds of the people of Campbellsville, Kentucky and of a generation being trained by CU.

    May God be ultimately glorified in the outcome.

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